Aug 17, 2009 2:51 PM
I’ve know Les for 61 years of my 65 years. He has always been present in my life, always there. He showed me how to hold a guitar and taught me my first chords, explained how to speed up and slow down a tape recorder, and how to overdub vocals and guitar parts when I was 5. The year was 1949. He showed me how much fun it is to play and sing. He told me I was a musician and to believe in myself and that I was going to go far when I was 5 and I believed him. He has always been my inspiration and the model for my life as a musician and a human being.
Behind the immense musical talent, magnificent performer and unrivaled entertainer existed a technical genius with such a strong and inquisitive mind that he single-handedly pushed electric guitar and recording technology further forward than anyone else in the 20th century.
It's amazing that today in 2009 the Gibson Guitar company spends its greatest energy and resources building Les Paul model guitars exactly as they were built in 1958 and 1959.
When I pulled out my Les Paul guitar at my recent concerts since his
death, the crowd started chanting Les' name. It's going to be a less-vibrant world with out Rubarb Red.
Listen to a recording Miller's father had secretly made of Miller "doing a show" for the neighborhood kids. "I was embarrassed and Les was very supportive—what a guy!" Miller remembers.
This story happened 3 or 4 years ago at AES in NYC. In those days I worked as a National Product Manager for a major Canadian distributor of music gear. My boss and I flew to AES in NY to meet with our suppliers and I we were in line waiting for my trade show cafeteria food.
Mr. Les Paul walks in and of course I recognize him and he looks at me and we both stars laughing for no apparent reason (just like he knew me for the last 20 years)! I carefully shook his hand and then he asked me "I am so hungry, do you know where I could find some pop corn?" When he left, my boss asked me: "Who is this old man do you know him?" ...
I never got to work with Les, but I met him on several occasions during
AES events and hosting the TEC Awards. I can’t think of anyone on the
recording side of the glass who has influenced the direction of recorded
music more than Les Paul. Overdubbing, double tracking, tape slapping…
they defined recorded pop music for the next 60 years and still continue
to do so. His innovations were only matched by his wit and genuine
friendliness to all. I will remember him almost as much for his ability to
crack up everyone in a room. How high the moon indeed.
He showed me ways of being musical yet always looking for ways to
enhance the sound. He never settled and when he achieved what he
wanted, a glint in his eye told you the maestro had raised the bar
again. I will miss you Les.
It is sad to see the passing of Les Paul. I was holding my breath, as he hung on, continuing to produce music and technology. I used to work in music electronics, and he inspired me to build an 8 track from an old broadcast 2 track reel to reel, during the 70s, and another one from an old reel to reel video recorder during the 80s. His legacy will never die, and he made a permanent print in the history of recorded music as we know it today.
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